Finding the Chrome OS Computer That Best Fits Your Needs

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2016-05-27
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Finding the Chrome OS Computer That Best Fits Your Needs
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    Finding the Chrome OS Computer That Best Fits Your Needs

    For the first time Chromebooks topped Macs in quarterly sales. Here are 10 of the most interesting Chrome OS devices on the market.
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    Acer's Chromebook 14 Is Less Than an Inch Thick
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    Acer's Chromebook 14 Is Less Than an Inch Thick

    The Acer Chromebook 14 is one of the thinnest options in this roundup, coming in at just 0.7 inches thick. The device has a 14-inch HD or full-HD display, depending on the customer's choice, and delivers up to 12 hours of battery life. Despite its slim size, the device still comes with USB 3.0 ports for data transfer and other features. Pricing starts at $299.
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    Lenovo's N22 Goes Rugged
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    Lenovo's N22 Goes Rugged

    Considering Lenovo is focused mainly on the enterprise, it's perhaps no surprise that the company's N22 Chromebook is designed to be rugged. The device, which has an 11.6-inch HD display, comes with what Lenovo says is a "reinforced" chassis that's capable of withstanding falls. Other features include a 180-degree rotating camera and an Intel Celeron processor. Like other Chromebooks, it's affordable, featuring a $179 price tag.
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    Check Out the Big-Screen Chromebook 14 G4
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    Check Out the Big-Screen Chromebook 14 G4

    HP is quick to tout that its Chromebook 14 has one of the nicer displays—a 14-inch HD screen—on the market. It also comes with a healthy helping of USB ports on both sides. Its design is similar to the Acer Chromebook 14, and like that device, is just 0.7 inches thick. However, it's a little on the heavy side, tipping the scales at nearly 4 pounds. The HP Chromebook 14 G4 is available for a starting price of $249.
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    Chromebook Pixel Is Google's Own Design
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    Chromebook Pixel Is Google's Own Design

    Google's Chromebook Pixel is the standard-bearer for all Chrome OS devices—and more specifically, Chromebooks. The device has a 13-inch IPS display, but includes something many of its counterparts don't offer: touch-screen capability. The Pixel also has USB Type-C ports for charging and data transfers and runs on Intel's Core processor line. The computer is encased in a single all-metal enclosure and features a stylish black bezel around the display. For all of that, customers will need to dish out some cash: The Chromebook Pixel starts at $999.
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    Dell's Compact Chromebox Similar to Mac Mini
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    Dell's Compact Chromebox Similar to Mac Mini

    Dell's Chromebox is similar to Apple's Mac Mini, a computer that requires users to find their own mouse, keyboard and monitor. The small Chromebox has four USB 3.0 ports, as well as built-in dual-band WiFi connectivity. Users will also find HDMI and DisplayPort ports for video compatibility. And since it doesn't come with a screen, the lightweight desktop is nicely affordable, coming in at just $179 to start.
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    HP Has Its Own Take on the Chromebox
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    HP Has Its Own Take on the Chromebox

    HP's take on the Chromebox is awfully similar to Dell's device. While it comes in a different color, the HP Chromebox still features support for both HDMI and DisplayPort ports, and has Ethernet and dual-band WiFi connectivity. Users will even find four USB 3.0 ports. Like other Chrome OS devices, the HP Chromebox comes with 100GB of Google Drive storage free for two years. And to keep pace with Dell's alternative, the HP Chromebox is available for as little as $180.
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    Try Out the All-In-One LG Chromebase
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    Try Out the All-In-One LG Chromebase

    As the Chrome OS market has expanded, so too have the device types. The LG Chromebase is an example of that, featuring an all-in-one design. The Chromebase has a 21.5-inch, full-HD display and runs on Intel's dual-core Celeron processor. Users will find 16GB of onboard storage, as well as 2GB of memory. On the rear, the all-in-one offers HDMI, USB 3.0 and Ethernet ports, among others. The Chromebase's pricing starts at $350.
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    Acer's R11 Is a Hybrid Notebook-Tablet Option
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    Acer's R11 Is a Hybrid Notebook-Tablet Option

    As hybrids have become increasingly popular in the Windows world, vendors have been trying them out in the Chrome OS world. The Chromebook R11 is one of those hybrids, featuring an 11.6-inch touch display and the ability for users to use it like a notebook, as a viewing machine for watching movies or as a tablet. The device also has up to 10 hours of battery life. Like many of the others in this roundup, the computer runs on Intel's Celeron processor. It's available starting at $279.
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    Samsung Tries Its Luck With the Chromebook 2
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    Samsung Tries Its Luck With the Chromebook 2

    Samsung is also competing in the Chromebook market with its Chromebook 2. The device has an 11.6-inch HD display and measures 0.66 inches at its thickest point. It can only last up to 8 hours on a single charge, though, so it's not necessarily the most power-efficient in this roundup. But unlike the others, the Chromebook 2 runs on Samsung's Exynos 5 octa-core processor, delivering what Samsung says is a 10-second "cold boot-up time." The Chromebook 2 is on sale for $319.
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    Asus Chromebit CS10 Turns Anything Into a Computer
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    Asus Chromebit CS10 Turns Anything Into a Computer

    Customers on a budget or those who just want to dabble with Chrome OS should consider the Asus Chromebit CS10. The device is essentially a Chrome OS device on a stick and connects to a monitor or television via HDMI. Upon plugging it in, the device is a fully operational computer that can connect to keyboards and mice wirelessly via Bluetooth 4.0. To connect to the Internet, the Chromebit comes with dual-band WiFi. It's a neat way to get started with Chrome OS and costs just $85 to start.
 

Something happened during the first quarter of this year that didn't get much attention: Google's hardware partners sold more Chromebooks than Apple sold Macs. The findings, which were limited to the U.S. market, were confirmed by research firm IDC to eWEEK and marked the first time Google's notebooks topped Apple Macs in quarterly shipments. The Chromebook's success story is due in part to how well Chrome OS devices have attracted both education and enterprise customers. It also explains why so many companies are building computers running Google's cloud operating system. But now with dozens of Chrome OS devices on the market, it can be difficult to determine which model is best for the individual customer. After all, in addition to Chromebooks, Google's partners sell hybrids, desktops and even minicomputers. In the following slides, we'll highlight 10 of the most interesting Chrome OS devices to help prospective customers cut through the market clutter and find the Chrome OS system that best fits their needs.

 
 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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